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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Heavens and Earth

א  הַאֲזִינוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַאֲדַבֵּרָה;  {ס}  וְתִשְׁמַע הָאָרֶץ, אִמְרֵי-פִי.  {ר}1 Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

Rashi (via

האזינו השמים: שאני מתרה בהם בישראל ותהיו אתם עדים בדבר (לעיל ל, יט) שכך אמרתי להם שאתם תהיו עדים, וכן ותשמע הארץ. ולמה העיד בהם שמים וארץ, אמר משה אני בשר ודם למחר אני מת, אם יאמרו ישראל לא קבלנו עלינו הברית מי בא ומכחישם, לפיכך העיד בהם שמים וארץ, עדים שהן קיימים לעולם. ועוד, שאם יזכו, יבואו העדים ויתנו שכרם, הגפן תתן פריה, והארץ תתן יבולה, והשמים יתנו טלם. ואם יתחייבו, תהיה בהם יד העדים תחלה (לעיל יא, יז), ועצר את השמים ולא יהיה מטר והאדמה לא תתן את יבולה, ואחר כך ואבדתם מהרה על ידי האומות:

Listen, O heavens: that I am warning Israel, and you shall be witnesses in this matter, for I have already told Israel that you will be witnesses. And so is [the clause] “And let the earth hear” [to be similarly understood]. Now why did [Moses] call upon heaven and earth to be witnesses [for warning Israel]? Moses said: “I am [just] flesh and blood. Tomorrow I will die. If Israel says, ‘We never accepted the covenant,’ who will come and refute them?” Therefore, he called upon heaven and earth as witnesses for Israel-witnesses that endure forever. Furthermore, if they [Israel] act meritoriously, the witnesses will come and reward them: “The vine will give its fruit, the earth will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew” (Zech. 8:12). And if [Israel] acts sinfully, the hand of the witnesses will be upon them first [to inflict punishment upon them]: “And He will close off the heaven that there will be no rain, and the soil will not give its produce” (Deut. 11:17), and then [the verse continues]: “and you will perish quickly”-through [the attacks of] the nations. — [Sifrei 32:1]

This is a time for us to reflectively look at our actions.  We are in the midst of hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, the Carribean, and the North Atlantic (heavens) and Mexico just suffered a devastating earthquake (earth).

As opposed to the slowly formed and slowly recognized drought-like conditions which we describe in Keri'at Shema as the typical punishment for our actions, hurricanes and earthquakes are different. A drought is a type of Hester Panim punishment whereby we lose our perceived connection with Hashem. Hurricanes and earthquakes, on the other hand - especially so many in a short period of time - and especially when they come during Parashat Ha'azinu - are meant to show the Jewish people that the heavens and earth are responding, but in a violent manner.

Just as the signal is abrupt, similarly our Teshuva needs to be abrupt.  There is not much time to think about doing Teshuva or saying, "I'll get to it next month."  One who says that is missing the signals.  Teshuva must be done now.  Let's get the message right.

Earthquakes in particular are meant to show us that HKB"H is, per the Yerushalmi Berachot 9:2, either:

1) displeased at the sin of not giving Terumot and Ma'asrot
2) displeased at the desolation of the Beit Hamikdash while the stadiums and theaters are well-attended, functioning edifices, as Eliyahu Hanavi answered Ribbi Nehorai.
3) displeased at acts of To'eva, which has sadly become more accepted in general society lately
4) displeased at internal strife and division
5) showing a sign of the end of a kingdom (North Korea? Edom? Yishmael? Paras?)

Assuming it is signaling the end of the Edom, it would also be a sign of the coronation of Hashem as our King right before Rosh Hashana, as we say daily before Yishtabah and repeat in the Malchuyot portion of the Rosh Hashana Musaf:

כט  כִּי לַיהוָה, הַמְּלוּכָה;    וּמֹשֵׁל, בַּגּוֹיִם.29 For the kingdom is the LORD'S; and He is the ruler over the nations.
כא  וְעָלוּ מוֹשִׁעִים בְּהַר צִיּוֹן, לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-הַר עֵשָׂו; וְהָיְתָה לַיהוָה, הַמְּלוּכָה.  {ש}21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. {P}
ט  וְהָיָה יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ; בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד--וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד.9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the LORD be One, and His name one.

May we merit to see that day speedily.

I wish all my readers a:

כתיבה וחתימה טובה
תזכו לשנים רבות
שנה טובה
Anyada buena, dulse i alegre
Gut gebentched yahr
Sweet new year

May 5778 bring new blessings for all of Kelal Yisrael, Amen!


At Wed Sep 20, 11:53:00 AM 2017, Blogger drbsd said...

Anulada buena dulce y alegre para ti y tu mishpuje tambien

At Wed Sep 20, 12:42:00 PM 2017, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken yehi Ratzon. The same to you and yours!
Amen to all those blessings to you and all of the bnai Yisrael! May we all awaken from our slumber and do teshuvah to bring Moshiach Tzdkeinu!


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